Tag Archives: Preservation

Register for Old House Dos and Don’ts

Date & Time:
April 6, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Old Houses Dos and Don’ts.
As times change so do the needs and desires of families when it comes to modern living. Historic homes are often altered to realize these dreams, but it can be hard to know how to make changes that are sensitive to the existing character of the house. This online lecture defines “preservation” and how to apply its tenets effectively to old homes.  Learn tips on how to read changes that have been made to old houses and identify those that were successful and those that weren’t.  Discover ideas for how to recapture the historic character of an old house as well as improve its energy efficiency.  Join us for this lecture presented by Elizabeth Paliga, Preservation Services Manager for Historic New England.


Register for Preserve Your Family Treasures

Date & Time:
May 6, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Preserve Your Family Treasures
Many of us have collections of treasured documents and photographs of significant events, ancestors, or bygone historical eras – items that create a record of who we are and where we come from. These collections deteriorate over time, but making small changes in storage and handling can have a huge impact on the lifespan of the materials. In this lecture, Alison Fulmer, a Preservation Specialist with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) will provide an introduction to the preservation and care of historical materials such as scrapbooks, letters, journals, books, and photographs. We will discuss simple steps for identifying and correcting improper handling and storage of paper-based and photographic materials in family collections.

Alison Fulmer, a Preservation Specialist with NEDCC, serves archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage institutions in the New England region and beyond, providing training programs, assessments, consultations, and disaster assistance. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and is certified by the Academy of Certified Archivists.  NEDCC offers conservation treatment, digital imaging, and audio preservation services, as well as preservation training, assessments and consultations, and disaster advice on collections.

Microfilm in the Movies: Pickup on South Street

Poster for Pickup on South Street, starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, and Thelma Ritter.

On a crowded subway, Skip McCoy picks the purse of Candy.   Among his take, although he does not know it at the time, is a piece of top-secret microfilm that was being passed by Candy’s consort, a Communist agent. Candy discovers the whereabouts of the film through Moe Williams, a police informer. She attempts to seduce McCoy to recover the film. She fails to get back the film and falls in love with him.  The desperate agent exterminates Moe and savagely beats Candy. McCoy, now goaded into action, confronts the agent in a particularly brutal fight in a subway.

Jean Peters (Candy) and Richard Widmark (Skip McCoy) on the subway.

Despite great acting from Richard Widmark (Skip McCoy), Jean Peters (Candy), and Thelma Ritter (Moe Williams), the star of this 1953 dark thriller is the microfilm.  The entire movie revolves around it.  There is a great scene where Skip goes to the New York Public Library to view the film with a microfilm machine that by today’s standards is wonderfully old.  It is at the NYP that he discovers the Communist connection to the film he has stolen and realizes that he can now manipulate the authorities who are after him.

As many of you know, both microfilm and microfilm machines are near and dear to historians and archivists.  Despite all the advances in digital technology, archival quality microfilm is still the preferred method to preserve copies of historic documents long term.

The Cambridge Public Library’s microfilm machine is used by patrons every day.  We have all the Cambridge Chronicles from 1846 to 2009 available, along with city directories and tax registers.  We also have several copies of Pick up on South Street available here:  http://library.minlib.net/search~S9/?searchtype=t&searcharg=pickup+on+south+street&searchscope=9&SORT=D&extended=0&SUBMIT=Search&searchlimits=&searchorigarg=tpick+up+on+south+street.  Stop by the library anytime to take out the movie or use our microfilm collection.

A Microfilm machine similar to the one featured in Pickup on South Street, courtesy of Brockport College Archives.

Works Cited
Movie summary taken from IMDB.com:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046187/.

Preservation Tips: Sticky Photo Albums

Example of the ubiquitous sticky photo album.

In this short, informative video, a conservator from the Smithsonian Institute Archives easily explains how to remove photographs from those horrible sticky photo albums.

The only equipment you need is dental floss!

View the video here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/SIArchives.